In the last part of my holiday gift series, I’ve put together another eclectic collection of my favorite things. Some of them are scented, others are simply pretty: beautifully wrapped soaps, decadent body creams, jewel-like makeup … and cat shaped lipsticks.
Rancé Iris Royal Box of 6 Soaps
Rancé has been making soaps since 1795, and purportedly the formulas remain unchanged. While I highly doubt it, the quality of their soaps is excellent. They’re triple milled, which means that the bars stay firm and last well. They’re scented with high-quality essences, and the aroma lingers delicately on your skin. Even those with sensitive skin–and I’m one of those people–won’t find this soap drying or irritating. Finally, the packaging is stunning, making Rancé’s soap sets a beautiful present.
Iris Royal smells of violet petals and green roots. Another favorite is Rose (fresh tea roses), Gardenia (a fantasy white flower with peach), and Acqua di Colonia (classical citrus). Box of 6 Soaps, 6x 100g, $58. Available at Luckyscent.
Andrea Garland Vintage Inspired Pill Box with Lip Balm
Andrea Garland’s jewelry is lovely, and the fact that the pieces come filled with lip balm makes them even more interesting. The lily of the valley pill box is my favorite, but Garland’s collection includes other vintage inspired designs. $24. Available at Beautyhabit.
Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Body Moisturizer
I’ve been in love with Kiehl’s Creme de Corps for the past 15 years, and for me, it’s still one of the best body creams to use in the winter. It has a rich, creamy texture, and it leaves skin soft, supple and protected against the drying air of central heating. It feels decadent when applied, and the delicate scent that reminds me of herbal tisane is not strong enough to clash with whatever perfume I choose to wear. Available in different sizes, starting at 2.5oz/$11.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Super Badger Brush & Sandalwood Bowl Box Set
Previously I’ve included the Art of Shaving set, but this year, my husband tried the Taylor of Old Bond Street sandalwood cream and liked it enough to switch. Gentlemen using the Super Badger Shaving Brush also mention that it’s top-notch. Super Badger Shaving Brush (S2233) & Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl (150g), £53. www.tayloroldbondst.co.uk. The website features many other brushes, creams and kits.
Balmain Coffret Nail Couture
After launching a hair styling collection, Balmain has introduced a nail polish set based on its couture show. The collection includes black, red, and nude polishes, and a top coat. The formulas are gentle and the polish lasts well without chipping. 67.80€. Available at Balmain boutiques and Galeries Lafayette.
Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge Collection
For Christmas, Tom Ford created two collections inspired by his perfume Jasmin Rouge. One set is based on purple hues and includes Rouge Fatal lipstick and Shameless nail polish. The other is all about cherry reds–Vampire Kiss lipstick and Trophy Wife nail polish. The quality is excellent, but at Tom Ford’s prices, it really should be. The lipstick is one of the most pigmented I have tried and it lasts really well. The nail polish is easy to apply and quick to dry, and it remains glossy and vibrant for several days. Lipstick, 46 €, nail polish, 32 €. Available at Tom Ford counters.
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain
I’m happy to treat beauty mavens to Tom Ford’s makeup, but for myself, I’ll stick with the YSL Glossy Stains. It’s a miracle lipstick as far as I’m concerned: it wears for the entire day and stays glossy (but not sticky). It lasts through a meal and keeps its vibrant color. My favorite shades are 7 (soft apricot-pink, perfect to balance out a smokey eye), 31 (pink-coral), and 10 (bright raspberry-red and needs only a coat of mascara to complete the look). $34. Available at Sephora and all YSL counters.
Paul & Joe Cat Collection
Every holiday season, Paul & Joe releases its whimsical cat collection of cat embossed eyeshadows and feline shaped lipstick and blusher sticks. Every year it sells out within weeks, as if no makeup bag is complete without a cat shaped lipstick. I find the idea more amusing than practical, but everyone to whom I gave a cat shaped lipstick last year still talks about it.
Cat embellished or not, the makeup from Paul & Joe is very good. The lipsticks come in a wide range of shades, from the understated nudes to the Hollywood starlet reds. The long lasting cream blushers are easy to blend. The packaging has a retro-chic style, for which Paul & Joe is famous. Paul & Joe Cat Collection Blusher Sticks, €28.77; lipstick (cat-shaped and regular), $20. Available at Beautyhabit, Urban Outfitters, Asos.com.
Dior Christmas Lips and Nails Palette
A charming Christmas lips and nails palette from Dior includes Crème de Rose lip balm, Dior Addict Extreme lipcolor, Dior Addict Gloss lipgloss, mini Dior Vernis nail lacquer in true red, and one double-ended applicator. £48. Available at Selfridges and other Dior counters.
Santa Maria Novella Lavender Wax Tablets
Santa Maria Novella’s Wax Tablets for Closets or Drawers are made of 100% organic beeswax and scented with lavender (Lavanda), rose (Rose) or a spicy blend of cinnamon and cloves (Relax). They can be used to perfume linen closets or hung in a room to scent the space. Box of 2/$34. Available at Aedes.
Frédéric Malle in Liberty Print
Clarins Box of Six Christmas Crackers
Clarins is offering a great set of its quintessential beauty products: the all-time favorite Beauty Flash Balm (30ml), Hand & Nail Treatment Cream (50ml), Gentle Refiner (30ml), Eau des Jardins (30ml) and miniatures of Rouge Eclat lipstick (Woodrose) and Wonder Perfect Mascara. It’s an excellent value at £39, and the only downside is that the set is exclusive to Selfridges this year.
Eau Dynamisante Wake Up Treats Collection
More easily available is Clarins’s Eau Dynamisante set. The uplifting herbal-floral blend comes in a kit with Eau Dynamisante Invigorating Fragrance Spray 100ml, Eau Dynamisante Moisturising Body Lotion 100ml and Eau Dynamisante Shower Gel 50ml. £30. Available at Clarins counters.
Laure Mercier Soufflé Body Crème Sampler Collection
If you like gourmand scents and ultra-nourishing creams, Soufflé Body Crèmes are worth trying. The creams’ rich texture is derived from shea butter and macadamia nut oil, and the scents are likewise indulgent: Almond Coconut Milk, Ambre Vanillé, Crème Brûlée and Crème de Pistache. Definitely for those with a sweet tooth! The jars are not breakable, so they’re ideal for travel. £40. Available at Selfridges and Laura Mercier’s counters.
Estée Lauder Beautiful Soap Set
Beautiful is Lauder’s classical perfume, and these soaps scented with its distinctive blends of green tuberose, rose, jasmine and woods are likewise memorable. $25. Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom and other Lauder counters.
Dr. Hauschka Luxury Moments Gift Set
Dr Hauschka’s holiday set includes Moor Lavender Bath Essence 100ml, Rose Body Moisturiser 10ml, Rejuvenating Mask 5g and Hand Cream 10ml. £24. Available at pharmacies and Selfridges.
In the US, www.drhauschka.com offers other interesting kits, including a set of 4 products: Rose Nurturing Body Wash, Lemon Lemongrass Vitalizing Body Wash, Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Wash and Almond Soothing Body Wash (10ml each) that’s currently on sale for $8.96. A great stocking stuffer!
Serge Lutens Lèvres en Boîte
I’m adding these Serge Lutens lipstick palettes as eye candy, because at 145 €, it’s well above my makeup budget. Even the regular lipsticks, 70 € a pop, would be an unjustifiable extravagance. For that money I could get a train ticket from Brussels to Paris and still have enough change to buy a pastry at Ladurée. But the three new palettes feature different shades of beige, plum and red. I made the mistake of sampling the red palette at the boutique and loved the colors and textures.
If you want more ideas, please also see EauMG’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Natural Beauties.